by Steven Ertelt
January 29, 2007
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — When it comes to the Supreme Court, speculation about its future membership is just that, speculation. However, one leading court observer says he thinks President Bush may get one more chance to shape the nation’s high court before his term in office expires.
Ed Whelan, president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, didn’t say pinpoint who might be the next to retire, but said there’s a good chance there will be one more high court battle before Bush leaves office.
Speculation before the 2006 elections focused on pro-abortion Associate Justice John Paul Stevens who turns 87 in April.
Stevens was a Republican appointee of President Gerald Ford and may decide to call it quits before the 2008 elections in case a Democrat is elected.
CNS News reports that Whelan told a gathering of conservative political activists over the weekend that they need to elect a supportive president in 2008 because the next president could appoint several new justices.
He said Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Antonin Scalia and David Souter would be the most likely to leave the court in the next eight years — the length of a two term presidency.
Should Stevens or another older justice retire or succumb to major health issues in the next two years, a Supreme Court appointment would be a major political battle with the Senate in Democrat hands.
Abortion advocates would almost certainly filibuster any nominee they felt would be likely to vote to overturn Roe v. Wade.
The next nominee to the Supreme Court could have the power to move the court in a pro-life direction and join the four other justices thought to be supportive of reversing Roe v. Wade and letting states determine if they will prohibit abortions.
Justices Scalia and Clarence Thomas are already on record as favoring a reversal and new Chief Justice John Roberts and new Justice Samuel Alito give pro-life advocates high hopes they would go along with such a decision.
A new justice who believes Roe was wrongly decided would be a fifth and deciding vote on a court that is currently 5-4 in favor of legalized abortion.
However, pro-life advocates fear that the election of a pro-abortion president in 2008 could turn back the clock and have the court at the same 7-2 pro-abortion majority that decided in favor of Roe in 1973.